THE year 201 4 has come and gone, but the memories it brought lingers in the minds of every Nigerian. The year 2014 witnessed the good, the bad and ugly events in the nation’s social, economic and political history.
For instance, on April 15, 2014 the Boko Haram insurgents invaded Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, abducting over 200 girls, and took them into Konduga area of the Sambisa forest in Borno State. The efforts of the federal government and the Nigerian Military to secure their release have not yielded any result up till now. Reports have it that some of the girls, if not all have been sold into slavery and servitude while others are been allegedly used as suicide bombers. The year 2014 also witnessed the worst ever attacks on innocent Nigerians by Boko Haram with particular reference to the Nyanyan motor park bomb explosion in Abuja, the nations capital. The terrorist onslaught on the Nigerian State assumed very high frequency in 2014.
In the midst of this insecurity and series of bombings and killings, the federal government rolled out the drums to celebrate the centenary anniversary of the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates of Lord Lugard in 1914. Huge sums of money was appropriated for that celebration, even when many thought there was no need for such celebration against the background that the amalgamation was done in bad faith, bringing people of diverse social, cultural, ethnic and religious background to forcefully live together as one. To many people, it was an aberration, and a calculated attempt by the colonialists to subjugate the people and cause disunity among them so that it would be easy for the imperialist to continue to exploit the people. Few months after wasting huge sum to celebrate the centenary, the federal government is telling the people to tighten their belt due to decline in the economy.
Ironically, in 2014, Nigerians were told that Nigerian economy has improved as a result of rebasing of the nation’s economy. Therefore, Nigeria was adjudged as the largest economy in Africa and 26 largest economy in the world. This is quite paradoxical, especially now that the economy has noose dive due to falling price of the oil in international market. Many people are wondering why Nigerians are suffering, if the nation’s economy is the largest in Africa. It is dissatisfying to note that Nigeria does not produce for export, it depend largely on imported products including refined petroleum products. The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is on the increase and the Gross Domestic Product GDP is declining.
In this confusion, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on 7 March 2014 inaugurated the National Conference headed by Chief Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi. The Conference was made up of 492 delegates who were nominated and not elected. Each delegate was paid 16 million naira and above through out the period of their deliberations that lasted four months or there about. The Conference according to Prof. Ben Nwanhueze was not legally constituted and as such cannot proffer solution to Nigeria problems. Prior to the commencement of the National Conference, the expectations from the conference were quite high on the side of the people. Many months after the conclusion of deliberations and submission of their report to President Goodluck Jonathan, nothing meaningful has come a lot of the conference. The wishes and aspirations of Nigerians have not been met. For instance, the peoples quest for removal of immunity clause from the constitution, granting of local government autonomy, state and local government creation, introduction of true federalism among others were kicked against, even by the legislators at state and federal levels. If the National Conference was constituted with the aim of solving the myriads of problems confronting the people, then the result or outcome would have reflected the wishes as aspirations of the people.
On the political front, 2014 witnessed series of in—Fighting in sonic State Houses of Assemblies and the National Assembly. The political class in the legislative arm in Edo State, Rivers State, Ekiti State, Nasarawa State and the House of Representatives displayed high level of irresponsibility, abandoning the purpose for which they were elected as the people’s representatives for their personal political interest. There was high level of impunity exhibited by some legislators to the extent that the minority has their way and majority relegated to the background simply because their principal is at the executive arm of government. This is a gross abuse of democracy and total disregard for the principles and tenet that tend to bind the people and their representatives together in a democratic society. The year 2014 is the year preceding the 2015 general elections and as such the year witnessed series of electioneering and the various political parties had their primaries to elect their candidates to contest for the various positions. However, it is still disappointing to note that it was still money politics. Huge amount was used by the aspirants to purchase nomination forms for the various positions. Millions of naira was spent on campaign and settling of political leaders, god fathers and party delegates. This is not good for our democracy, as it encourage corruption among political elites or representatives. That explains why the electoral laws stipulate how much should he expended by politicians vying for the various political offices.
There should be check and balance, and the various law enforcement agents should wake up to their responsibilities of investigating the source or sources of income of every politician seeking electorate position before, during and after elections.
Politicians of our time are ready to spend huge sum of money to clinch to power in order to be able to loot the national treasury, not because they love the people and truly want to represent their interest and meet their yearnings and aspirations.
In 2014, Nigerians witnessed the cross carpeting of politicians from one political party to the other. This is because the want to satisfy their personal interest. Imagine Maku, Former Minister for Information leaving the Peoples Democratic Party PDP to All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA. This is because his ambition to become the governor of Nasarawa State was not achieved in PDP. How about those who left APC for PDP in Edo State? The Speaker of the House of’ Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal crossed from PDP to APC to pursue his governorship ambition in Sokoto State. The Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko and all the members of the State House of Assembly abandoned the Labour Party for PDP enmass.
On 25 July 20 the Federal Ministry of Health announced the outbreak of the Ebola Disease in Nigeria, following the death of a Liberian, Mr. Patrick Sawyer who imported the disease to Nigeria for once, the Federal and States government were proactive in curtailing the disease. Indeed, Nigerians were united in combating the disease, thus preventing it from spreading and becoming an epidemic. Although, some people contacted the disease and died, the Ebola disease was eventually checked and eradicated. The World Health Organization afterwards declared Nigeria an Ebola free country. Nigerians will always remember the likes of Late Dr. (Mrs.) Adedevbo and other health workers who put their life on the line to curtail the Ebola disease.
In 201 4, the Federal Government privatized the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. especially the distribution aspect of it. There in State, we now have the Benin Electricity Distribution Company BEDC. The purpose of the privatization we were told is to ensure improved power supply to Nigerians. However, since the privatization, electricity supply has not improved, instead it has gone worse. Hardly could a week pass without the people protesting the non supply of electricity to their areas, especially in Benin City and enviros irons. The most disappointing aspect is the fixed charge imposed on electricity consumers not only by BEDC, but also the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission NERC. This fixed charge is exploitative against the background of non supply of electricity to the consumers on regular basis.
As the year 2015 beckons, 2014 will I no doubt go down in history as Nigeria’s own annus horribilis. In other words, the year 2014 was quite horrible, and as we enter 2015, Nigerians look forward to it with yet another high hope and expectations.
With the general elections slated For February 2015, it therefore means that the first gill being expected from our leaders, and politicians is to ensure free, fair, credible, acceptable and violence free election. No doubt that the manner the 2015 general elections are conducted will determine how governance will be and how peaceful the nation will be and how well the people could enjoy dividend of democracy.
In 2015, it is expected that the federal government will diversify the nation’s economy, especially now that the price of crude oil is declining in the international market. The non oil sectors such as solid minerals and agriculture should be given more attention should be the reawaking of the people’s consciousness toward agriculture. Agriculture is capable of providing job for the jobless if properly harnessed and managed, besides, it will provide abundant food, cash crops, raw materials for the various industries and earn foreign exchange for the country, thereby improving the Gross Domestic Production GDP.
It must he realized that before the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria, agriculture and its allied products, such as cocoa, groundnut, timber, oil palm, rubber among others used to be the major income earner for Nigeria, and there as job for everyone to do, as industries were established to utilize the abundant raw materials.
In 2015 and beyond, the federal government should intensify effort to tight insecurity in the country, especially the Boko Haram insurgents. No sect or group should be seen to be stronger than the nation’s military who are charged with the responsibility of protecting the country from any form of invasion, aggression or attacks. The military officers should be trained and equipped to effectively challenge any uprising against the country.
In 2015, the issue of electricity should he placed on the front burner. The reason why Nigeria has been unable to generate enough mega watts of electricity to meet our domestic and industrial needs is corruption. This and other factors militating against the realization of constant and uninterrupted power supply should be dismantled irrespective of who is involved. Over the years, there have been reported cases of widespread corruption in the power sector, energy sector and petroleum sector. That explains why in 2015 the federal government must take the fight against corruption very seriously beginning with members of the federal executive council, the Head of Ministries, parastatals, agencies, commissions and the likes. That is the only way the general public could be convinced about the seriousness of the federal government’s fight against corruption.
In 2015 and beyond, effort should be made to prevent strike in our education and health sectors, these sectors have witnessed series of strikes in the past which is not good for the sectors in particular and Nigerians in general. The effect of strike in these sectors affects the quality of education and the well being of the people. Meanwhile, it is the responsibility of any government to ensure the well being of its people, and there is no society that can develop beyond the quality of education provided to the citizens.
Finally, the year 2015 has been predicted by some section of the international community as the year that would decide the corporate existence of Nigeria. They based their prediction on the various ills bedeviling the country over the years, namely, High level of corruption, especially among public officers and politicians, insecurity, religious and ethnic segregation and differences, high  level of impunity, lack of total freedom of the press, high level of unemployment, increase rate of crime, election rigging and thuggery  etc. Therefore, as we enter the year 2015, the nation’s leaders at all levels should endeavour to address the myriads of problems highlighted above in order for the predictions by the international community concerning Nigeria not to become a reality. God bless Nigeria.

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